Birmingham and Coventry, historically in Warwickshire, are the two leading cities of the West Midlands conurbation.
During 1992 –1993, major remodelling work took place in the centre of
as part of that city’s efforts to make their centre more environmentally
friendly. In that they undoubtedly
succeeded and it is well worth seeing.
One of the sub-contractors employed on the paving works in BIRMINGHAM Victoria Square
brought his black Labrador dog, Ebony, to the
site nearly every day and over the months the dog became a familiar sight in
the area, being easily visible with its ‘dayglow’ bright green vest which the
owner put on it for safety reasons. The
dog became a friends to the many office workers and visitors to the area.
Towards the end of the contract and whilst plans were being made for the Princess of Wales to rededicate the Square, it was decided to remember Ebony and her paw print was implanted in the pavement near to the Council House as a lasting memorial. Ebony was also presented to the Princess on the opening day.
Although COVENTRY is perhaps best known for car production it is also notable for its Cathedral, Lady Godiva and the Transport Museum.
Coventry has had three Cathedrals. St Mary's was an 11th century monastic building with scant remains having fallen foul of the Dissolution.
St Michael's was a 14th century Gothic church which was designated a Cathedral in 1918, and it was this church which was bombed almost to destruction by German Luftwaffe in 1940. The ruins remain hallowed ground and are
Grade 1 listed.
In the 1950's a new cathedral rose from the ashes. It was designed by Basil Spence who insisted that instead of rebuilding the old cathedral, the ruins should be kept as a garden of remembrance with a modern new cathedral being built alongside effectively forming once church.
The foundation stone was laid by The Queen in 1956 and the new cathedral was consecrated in 1962. An unconventional spire, known as a fleche, was lowered into place by helicopter piloted by Wing Commander Dowling RAF.
The spire, which miraculously survived the bombs, rises 295 feet being the third tallest in England after Salisbury and Norwich.
Reconciliation sculpture by Josefina de Vasconcellos.
Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon noble woman, the wife of Leofric, the Earl of Mercia. According to legend Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry who were suffering heavily from her husband’s oppressive taxation, and despite her constant appeals for clemency, he refused to submit. At last, weary of her entreaties, the Earl said that he would grant her request if she would strip and ride naked through the streets of Coventry. The lady took him at his word and after issuing a proclamation that all people should stay indoors and shutter their windows, she rode through the town clothed only in her long hair. Apparently only one man called Tom disobeyed the proclamation and bore a hole in his shutter – ‘Peeping Tom’ was said to have been struck blind. A fine statue of Lady Godiva on her horse can be seen in the centre of Coventry in Broadgate.
The Transport Museum displays a great variety of vehicles, including the iconic Mini and the World Land Speed record holder Thrust 2.
Even Monty's WW2 staff car is on display.
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery ‘Monty’, was the most famous British soldier of WW2 and led armies to success in North Africa and Europe. When leading his troops in North Africa, Monty was very fond of his Humber staff car known as ‘Old Faithful’. When he was chosen to be one of the leaders of the D Day landings in France he asked for a new Humber, which fell in to the sea as it was being unloaded off the supply ship. Monty had it recovered and when it was serviced it was as good as new. Known as the ‘Victory Car’ Monty used it from Normandy, June 6th 1944 to berlin, august 25th 1945 and it never let him down. the victory car was returned to the UK in 1947.